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Government looking for premises... in town where army barracks was closed

Alan Shatter has confirmed his department is advertising to rent another property in Cavan, whose barracks was slated for closure last year.

Alan Shatter
Alan Shatter
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

THE DEPARTMENT OF Defence is looking to rent a property in the same town where a Defence Forces’ barracks was controversially shuttered, the Minister for Defence has confirmed.

An advert was placed in local media in Cavan, seeking a premises which reserve forces could use for training.

The town’s barracks was slated for closure along with others in Clonmel, Mullingar and Castlebar as part of Government efficiency measures last November. Sinn Féin TD Jonathan O’Brien said he imagined residents of the town were “surprised” to see the ad looking for another property.

Justice and defence minister Alan Shatter confirmed the facility would be used for reserve training in the area, but said the rented premises would not be used constantly.

“We don’t need to maintain a barracks open 24/7 for the use of the reserve,” he told the Dáil this afternoon.

He added that he did not believe that properties would be rented in the other towns where barracks have been closed, but said he could not immediately confirm this.

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Minister Shatter said the main objective of the barracks closures was to “release personnel for operational duties.” He said at present Defence Forces members were tied up in the maintenance and upkeep of barracks which were no longer necessary, adding that there was an “urgent need to maximise efficiency”.

If the four barracks were kept open, Defence Forces numbers would have to be reduced by around 1,000 to achieve the same savings, he said. The current strength of the forces is 9,500.

The Department of Justice is “actively engaged” in looking for alternative uses for the closed barracks premises, Shatter added.

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